Those Olympic Escorts

Hi, Women-in-Media-ers,

Continuing our decoding and interpretation of images in the news, using the various theories we’ve discussed in class….

Today, the 2014 winter Olympics.  No, not the latest U.S. gold medal winners, nor the U.S. snowboarder who cut his long red-gold locks only to do what looked like a Samson-and-Deliah — lost his powers along with his hair.

It’s the costumes of the Russian women escorts for the athletes during the Opening Ceremonies that I can’t get out of my mind.

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So.  Please look at lots of pictures and read up on these costumes and stereotypes of Russian/Soviet women, then blog about the escorts’ image, decoding what you think the Russians thought they were encoding into the look when they designed the costume.  Next, listen to yourself.  How do you decode the look as an American viewer?  What images and stereotypes does it evoke in your mind?

OK, here’s some reading/viewing on the escort’s costumes themselves:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/02/07/olympic-opening-ceremony-2014_n_4746088.html

http://www.popsugar.com/photo-gallery/33940024/

Here’s some reading about Russian stereotypes in general:

http://www.56thparallel.com/russian-stereotypes-beyond-the-beautiful-women-vodka-and-endless-winter/

Now, put “women Russian” into Google and see what happens — mostly marry-this-Russian woman websites, right?

Now two images of Russian babushkas (grannies):

Babushka in 1997 by Yuri Lev.

Babushka in 1997 by Yuri Lev.

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And finally, a 1980s Wendy’s commerical that caused some controversy for its images of Soviet women.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwUFVrQdWrc

Enjoy.  And please write about what you think the Russians were trying to encode into the escorts’ costumes and what you see, as an American, in the image.

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